Tuesday, November 01, 2011

First Minister opens Qatar Office of law firm who won DEBT RECOVERY & PROPERTY contracts from £20 Million Scottish Govt spending spree on lawyers

Scotland’s First Minister opens Qatar Office of law firm McGrigors, who won share in £20m Scottish Government spending spree on legal profession (pic-Scottish Govt). A PRESS RELEASE from the Scottish Government issued late last week reported Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond opened a new office of the well known Scottish law firm McGrigors in Doha, Qatar. However what the press release from the Scottish Government failed to mention is that McGrigors recently won a share of contracts with the Scottish Government in a TWENTY MILLION POUND PLUS legal project by Mr Salmond’s Scottish Government to rapidly enlarge its already burgeoning 225 plus lawyer strong legal department to provide legal services outsourced by the Scottish Government's Legal Directorate (SLGD).

Among a long list of law firms who were also revealed to have taken part in hospitality to the Scottish Government’s legal directorate officials, McGrigors won contracts from the Scottish Government for DEBT RECOVERY and PROPERTY.

However, while the Scottish Government are apparently happy to send the First Minister on missions to open offices of the same law firms which won Scottish Government contracts, curiously, in response to Freedom of Information requests, the same Scottish Government claimed it is too expensive to release full details of exactly what work & duties these contracts involve, along with copies of the full tenders submitted by all the law firms involved including McGrigors.

Scots law firm opens new Qatar HQ

The First Minister Alex Salmond today officially opened a new business base for the Scottish law firm McGrigors in the Qatari capital, Doha. On the first full day of his five-day visit to Qatar and the UAE, Mr Salmond said : "By establishing a new base in this part of the Middle East, McGrigors are recognising this is an exciting time for business in this region. From its headquarters in the impressive Tornado Tower in the centre of Doha's financial district, it will play a leading part in supporting the energy, infrastructure and professional and financial services which are at the centre of the vision for this nation. Law firms, like all businesses, have had to grapple with the challenging environment following the credit crunch and the ensuing recession. The opening of this office by McGrigors is a demonstration of their commitment to the long-term future of growing business in the region."

James Elwen, a Partner and Head of McGrigors Qatar office, said that he is excited about the chance to encourage greater commercial links between Scotland and Qatar. He said : "We are delighted to be welcoming Mr Salmond to our new Doha office. This is a fantastic opportunity to discuss how Scottish and Qatari businesses can work together for the mutual benefit of both countries. There is a huge amount of knowledge experience to talk about. Both countries have a proud tradition of excellence in the energy sector and I am certain that we can learn from each other in this and many other respects."

The First Minister is visiting the region to develop business and trade links. During the visit, the First Minister will also be taking part in high-level talks hosted by McGrigors and Scottish Development International to discuss Scotland's experiences of transitioning from a hydrocarbon-based economy to a knowledge-based society. The discussion will invite views on how Scotland's experiences in embracing the green economy can be applied to Qatar and the wider region. Members of the Doha business community will be invited to discuss the advantages of sharing of skills, expertise and research between the two nations.

McGrigors was granted a licence to establish a branch office in Doha, Qatar, by the Qatar Financial Centre Authority earlier this year. The firm already carries out a significant amount of work in the region on energy matters, and derived a significant percentage of its turnover in 2009-10 from the Middle East region yet no mention was made of their recent successes in winning work from the Scottish Government itself.

Diary of Injustice earlier reported on how many of the law firms including McGrigors won the Scottish Government contracts here : HOSPITALITY WINS : Law firms who won £20 Million legal contract wined, dined & lobbied Scottish Government’s Legal Directorate for three years

Scottish GovernmentScottish Government was wined, dined & lobbied by law firms, lawyer regulators, lawyer lobby groups & universities. A HOST OF LAW FIRMS who secretly wined, dined & in some cases lobbied the Scottish Government over the past three years on areas of law & justice where in some cases, the legal profession’s interests are known to conflict with those of consumers, won valuable contracts in the latest recession busting taxpayer funded TWENTY MILLION POUND legal project by the current Scottish Government to rapidly enlarge its already burgeoning 225 plus lawyer strong legal department to include even more Scottish law firms who are to provide legal services outsourced by the Scottish Government's Legal Directorate (SLGD).

The details revealed in a Freedom of Information response by the Scottish Government show a host of law firms, regulators, lawyer lobby groups & even universities have offered so many dinners to officials from the Justice Directorate, one Government insider jokingly said it should be named the Justice Dining Directorate.

Hospitality Scottish Govt Legal DirectorateHospitality wins : Law firms who wine & dine Scottish Govt officials win stake in 4 year £20 Million contract for outsourced legal advice. Among a long list of hospitality & entertainment given to Scottish Government officials, many of the winners of the £20 Million contracts appear : 07/04/2008 Lunch Pinsent Masons, 18/04/2008 Lunch Dundas & Wilson, 26/06/2008 Meal Scottish Public Law Group, 29/05/2008 Lunch Dundas & Wilson, 20/08/2008 Meal and Edinburgh Festival Show Shepherd & Wedderburn, (No record held of date) Symposium and Dinner of the In House-Lawyers Group of the Law Society of Scotland Dundas & Wilson, 10/11/2008 invitation to In House Lawyers Dinner Burness (did not win a contract), Meal Glasgow University, 08/10/2009 Meal after Scottish Public Law Group Event, 13/11/2009 Invitation to WS Dinner LBC Wise Counsel, 3/11/2009 WS Society Dinner (invited as guest of Morton Fraser, Solicitors), 20/11/2009 Law Society of Scotland In House Lawyers Pinsent Masons, 20/11/2009 Dinner at In House Lawyers Group of Law Society of Scotland McGrigors, 15/01/2010 Meal provided by Glasgow University Law School Advisory Panel, 22/01/2010 Lunch Edinburgh University Law School, 25/02/2010 Meal after Scottish Public Law Group event Faculty of Advocates, 26/03/2010 15 lunch provided by Glasgow University Graduate Law School, 26/03/2010 Meal provided by Glasgow University Law School in connection with GLSS teaching to GU Diploma in Legal Practice students, 21/04/2010 Invitation Scotland PLC Dinner - Glasgow Hilton Hotel Law Society of Scotland, 17/08/2010 Attendance at Fringe show plus meal Shepherd & Wedderburn Solicitors, 27/10/2010 Dundas & Wilson Invitation to Chairman's Dinner, 11/03/2011 The Law Society of Scotland Dinner, 16/11/2010 Meal at Edinburgh University after Edinburgh Law School event "Scotland & Independence" 15/03/2011 Dundas & Wilson Invitation -Leadership Lunch.

Scrutiny of the information reveals several law firms who wined & dined the Scottish Government over the course of the last three years, also managed to win tenders to provide the Scottish Government with additional legal services via the new framework agreement across five legal subject areas, complementing the work of the Scottish Government Legal Directorate (SGLD), which also manages the outsourcing of legal work. There is of course, absolutely no suggestion whatsoever the wining, dining or even any lobbying, helped win the law firms any contracts from the latest multi million pound subsidy offered by the Scottish Government to Scotland’s legal profession. It is merely, coincidence...

The full list of those law firms who won the tenders to provide extra legal advice to the Scottish Government are :

Contract, commercial and corporate – Dundas & Wilson CS; DLA Piper Scotland; Morton Fraser; MacRoberts; Pinsent Masons

Debt recovery: Harper Macleod; Maclay Murray & Spens; McGrigors; MacRoberts; Morton Fraser

Litigation, inquiries and employment: Anderson Strathern; Brodies; DLA Piper Scotland; Ledingham Chalmers; Morton Fraser

Major projects: Biggart Baillie; Dundas & Wilson CS; DLA Piper Scotland; MacRoberts; Pinsent Masons Property: Harper Macleod; DLA Piper Scotland; Ledingham Chalmers; McGrigors; Morton Fraser

The budget for this latest legal venture by the SNP Scottish Government to expand the numbers of lawyers working for the Scottish Government comes in at a whopping cost of an additional TWENTY MILLION POUNDS to taxpayers, bringing in a convenient taxpayer funded subsidy to some of Scotland’s hard pressed for profits law firms in the current recession. The Scottish Government’s tender for the latest intake of law firms at vast taxpayer’s expense can be viewed online here : CONTRACT AWARD NOTICE £20 Million for a panel of law firms for four years although many of the web links contained within the tender which link back to the Scottish Government's website go to non-existent pages.

The new, if costly agreement will also be used through the Office of the Solicitor to the Advocate General, to source advice on Scots law for UK Government departments, agencies and NDPBs. Bodies within the Scottish Administration which obtain legal advice from Scottish Government Legal Directorate include : Accountant in bankruptcy, HM inspectorate of Education, General Register Office for Scotland, Historic Scotland, National Archives of Scotland, Registers of Scotland, The Rent Officer, Scottish Prison Service, Scottish Public Pensions Agency, Social Work Inspection Agency, Student Awards Agency for Scotland, Transport Scotland.

The Scottish Government added in their FOI response they did not keep a hospitality register for the Government Legal Services For Scotland (GLSS), possibly because there is so much hospitality & work going on between the GLSS, law firms & the Law Society of Scotland, it would be an embarrassment to publish it.

Diary of Injustice revealed in an earlier article Scottish Government spending £8.1 million on 225 lawyers salaries as more Scots miss out on legal representation, access to justice although it now appears two hundred & twenty five lawyers are not enough of a legal army to cover legal advice to Ministers, the Scottish Parliament and other departments including well known over budget quangos.


Anonymous said...

Yes and now its off to Dubai for some dubaious handshakes & brown envelopes!

Anonymous said...

In the second picture is Lena Watson of Scottish Enterprise

read this http://www.scotsman.com/news/scottish-news/edinburgh-east-fife/public_sector_bosses_pocket_rises_of_up_to_27_as_staff_set_to_get_2_1_699312

Crisis-hit Scottish Enterprise handed executives Jack Perry and Lena Wilson a total of 400,000 - in Ms Wilson's case a rise of 27 per cent - despite being 34 million in the red.

No wonder she is smiling.The Scotsman story is post May 2007 so it was Salmond's Scottish Exec who gave her the rise.

Anonymous said...

Just using the phrase "debt recovery" in a recession is enough to chill the bones and why the f*ck are we spending 20 million on more lawyers for Alex Salmond?

Anonymous said...

Only a fool would want to have anything to do with the Scotish legal profession - which together with Salmond & McAskill are only to happy to see the Scottish Public continue to be denied any meaningful or proper access to the Courts, far less justice.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic report Peter bloody fantastic but if you think hospitality is bent in Scotland just wait until you investigate what goes on with some companies or govts in the gulf.
Everything from islands/boats/sex/coups/people /murders/assassinations are on offer its one of the hq's of corruption in the world and no surprise to me there are Scottish companies lining up to do business there.

Seems like a fitting place for the FM to end up grovelling for dosh and dont forget the nice piccie released by the Scottish LibDems today with Salmond doing his Eck of Arabia bit!

Anonymous said...

What kinds of debts are McGrigors going to recover for the Scottish Government?

I think we need a full explanation of this along with full disclosure of all the cases they are involved in and I am not talking about the one sided rubbish put up on the Scottish Court website after a case has finished I'm talking about full explanations and how much they are taking in fees etc

Anonymous said...

One word : SLEAZE

Anonymous said...

If only people who have already been ruined by the justice system could command this kind of attention from Mr Salmond.

This only serves to show Scotland is not an inclusive place under the SNP.If you have money fine.If not sod off.

Anonymous said...

Is Salmond still offering them all our forests on the cheap to fund his fantasies?

Anyone who cosies up to lawyers is best to be avoided in my books

Anonymous said...

The arc of prosperity went bust and now the EU is going under so where is Salmond going to take us to now?
Are we to become one of the notoriously 'honest' Gulf States?
Clearly the vested interests put him in power not the electorate and they say this doesn't happen here haha so what are we looking at in the pic?haha good thing they cut the envelopes

Anonymous said...

Put simply Money Talks.

Perhaps if the 1000+ people a year writing into the Scottish Govt about their problems with lawyers offered Salmond a trip to the Bahamas he might do something more other than telling them to f* off.

Anonymous said...

He probably told them "Remember it was SNP Scotland who let Megrahi go....you have a friend in us" about 5 thousand times just to drum up business!

Anonymous said...

Salmond is now Scotland's answer to Liam Fox and then some!

Anonymous said...

Taking on board that amount of lawyers looks like the Scottish Government are preparing for a legal war?

Also I wonder how these law firms clients will do with cases involving litigation against the Scottish Government?
I imagine the lawyers will drop their private clients like a hot potato or perhaps even not inform them they also have a relationship with the Scottish Government until the very last minute and pull out of their case as is usual and trot out a huge fee demand with a threat of legal action if its not paid.

Anonymous said...

For all the protestations of different politics than before its still big business and their interests before the small guy and if you dont believe me just check out McGrigors record at the Law Society complaints fiddle dept and the SLCC oh sorry I forgot they wipe their records clean so there are no records!

Bypass the Law Societies said...

Your right to ‘Freedom of Speech’ - Preserved! A Message from Rick Kordowski (Good man Rick).

I would like to thank the dozens of authors who have taken the trouble to write and send in a Witness Statement confirming that what is posted on this website is true. I would also like to thank the lawyers and barristers who have contacted me offering their pro-bono help and expressing their concerns (click here) about the Law Society’s High Court action to have this website shut down.

However, past experience has taught me that regardless of how much evidence I present in the High Court to support my defence or claim, the judicial system will always side with the law firm, (SPOT ON) solicitor, or in this case The Law Society.

In order to secure the future of this website and your right to freedom of speech, I have decided to give the website away. The new experienced owners, who operate overseas, will be taking this site to the next level in terms of world wide promotion and ease of access by the public.

All current reviews will be unaffected. New reviews will be posted automatically on a new style website (similar to TripAdvisor). Authors will be able to edit and update their listings at any time. Others can make further reviews and solicitors can post a response. Full rating system and the ability to upload evidence, to name just a few advantages. All totally free of charge and out of the reach of The Law Society of England and Wales.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone again for their previous support and kind words. Godspeed.

Anonymous said...

Well with what you've all written about Scottish law firms I think we can surmise exactly the types of people abroad who would use such lawyers right?
In other words CROOKS!

Talk about injustice just not injustice affecting Scots said...

Scottish Parliament is no good for doing anything about crooked lawyers there have never been any debates EVER and NO MSP is interested in really taking on the Law Society because whoever does it their party never gets into power or is blackmailed to stop them doing anything more.

Helping Scots about injustice is not on but as you can see from this they have the time to hold debates about foreign injustice so in a word msps are telling us all to drop dead if we have problems with the justice system unless they can score political points and make themselves feel better on stuff from abroad


Members debate: Israel's nuclear whistleblower

SNP MSP Sandra White told MSPs you "can not devolve the right to speak out against injustice" during a member's debate on Israel's Nuclear Whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, on 3 November 2011.

She called on the parliament to recognise the 25th anniversary of Vanunu's revelations to the British press regarding Israel's secret nuclear weapons programme.

Mr Vanunu spent 18 years in jail including more than 11 in solitary confinement.

Anonymous said...

Well if the Euromillions winners from Ayr turned down his stomach turning begging letter, what's he to do?

Anonymous said...

"This only serves to show Scotland is not an inclusive place under the SNP.If you have money fine.If not sod off."

Shouldn't that be 'If you have money fine..we want some, no questions asked'

Anonymous said...

and did anyone notice Mr Salmond done a bunk this week to get out of the debate on his sectarian offences law?

Anonymous said...

More evidence that Salmond has sold his soul to the Corrupt Scottish Legal System

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

and did anyone notice Mr Salmond done a bunk this week to get out of the debate on his sectarian offences law?

4 November 2011 10:16

Yes.Now he can say to the Catholic church and Rangers supporters "It wisnae me"

Quite funny after making all the fuss about songs etc Eck runs away from the debate on one of his high profile campaigns!

Anonymous said...

Wow it didnt take Salmond long to go kissing ass in the middle east and to think he lambastes everyone else for doing it.Oh my this certainly proves he's just one of the boys and no different from Bliar etc with those handshakes in the desert hahaha

Anonymous said...

What with the 'hospitality' and the fat balloon being sent to open law firms by his 2.2bn bosses in the legal world its plain to see who is pulling the strings of Scotland now.

Effectively the SNP won a contract from the legal establishment to run Scotland and if they dont obey or dish out the money its curtains.